By Chantal Da Silva on 2/1/18 | NEWSWEEK
Canadian lawmakers have passed a bill to make the country’s national anthem gender neutral.
Instead of “In all thy sons command,” the anthem’s lyrics will soon be rewritten to read: “In all of us command.”
Senators voted overwhelmingly in favour of changing the lyrics of “O Canada” to remove gendered language, despite opposition from some Conservative lawmakers.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the lyric revision a “positive step towards gender equality.”
The bill to make Canada’s anthem gender neutral was introduced by Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, who died in 2016.
In order to become law, the bill must also receive royal assent by the country’s Governor General.
If the move is approved, it won’t be the first time that the song has been revised.
Several versions of the anthem had been created long before before the current tune was penned in 1908.
Even the final song, written by Robert Stanley Weir, has seen its share of revisions, including the addition of the same line that is now set to be changed.
Before Weir rewrote the line to say “in all thy sons command,” the lyric previously read: “thou dost in us command,” according to the Canadian government’s website.
A number of other minor changes were made to the song as well before it was proclaimed as Canada’s national anthem when the country’s parliament passed the National Anthem Act in 1980.
Since then, at least 12 bills looking to replace gendered language in the song have been introduced. All were unsuccessful, until the most recent attempt.
Many independent lawmakers celebrated the anthem bill’s success, with senator Jim Munson thanking Lankin on Twitter for her efforts and writing: “‘In all of us command.’ Mauril Bélanger, my dear friend, you can finally rest in peace.”
“Oh Canada—we stand on guard for thee,” he added, quoting the last line of the national anthem.
However, not all lawmakers were happy about the vote’s outcome, with some Conservative senators accusing their independent counterparts of “hijacking parliamentary procedure” to get the bid approved after independent Senator Frances Lankin, who sponsored the bill, used a controversial motion to stop debate over the proposal and move directly to a vote.
“Canada’s ‘independent’ senators shut down debate on the Anthem Bill in defiance of longstanding parliamentary tradition allow full senate debate,” Senator Betty Unger wrote in a tweet. “Our national anthem has just been changed by hijacking parliamentary procedure. A harbinger of things to come,” she added.
Many of Canada’s independent senators are formally members of the Liberal caucus, which Trudeau disbanded in a bid to reduce partisanship in the senate.